How to Live After the Death of a Spouse

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The death of a spouse is different for everyone because the circumstances surrounding his or her passing are different. It can be sudden and jarring, it can be expected and traumatic, or it can even be a numbing, unbelievable experience. However you are feeling after the passing of your spouse, your feelings are valid, and you can work through them.

Expect Pain, Welcome Happiness

  • Social norms and peer pressure can make grieving even more difficult than it already is. Instead of focusing on what’s expected of you, focus on what is going on in the present moment. When mourning the death of a spouse, you can definitely expect pain, but there are moments of happiness. Instead of feeling guilty in those moments of relief, appreciate them and trust that you’re healing. If you notice a pattern in the happy moments, such as spending time with your children or grandchildren, reading a book, or talking with friends, try to spend time doing that activity at least three to four times a week. This will help break up the feelings of pain without stuffing them down, so you can enjoy some activities that make you feel like you.

Join a Bereavement Group or Counseling

  • One of the difficulties of losing a spouse is feeling isolated by your pain. Joining a bereavement group or counseling can help you process your emotions and give you solid coping mechanisms to help you move forward. Joining a group or counseling also helps you to get out of bed at least once a week, and puts you face to face with other people. While you don’t want to push yourself, you don’t want to be a hermit, either. If bereavement groups or counseling aren’t quite your style, try a class in pottery, painting, writing or anything else you may find interesting. Gaining a new skill will help you release the pain for a little bit, while you focus your attention on what you’re learning.

Get a Support Partner

  • A support partner is someone who agrees to support you through your grieving period. Your support partner can be a grown child, a sibling, a friend or even someone from your bereavement group who is further along the healing road than you are. This is the person who comes over to help you eat, keep you company, and get you out of the house for a little while. This type of relationship can help keep you healthy while you go through your mourning period.

Spend Time in Nature

  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, spending time in nature can reduce stress and improve your outlook on life. If you can take a thirty-minute walk three days a week with your support partner, it will help you healthily process your emotions and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, which will help you continue living and enjoying your life.



  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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